The Applied Mechanics Group has a broad and diverse portfolio of research programmes. These include the development of novel experimental techniques for evaluation of components and systems – e.g. digital holography, shearography, moiré interferometry, electronic speckle pattern interferometry (ESPI), fringe projection, Split-Hopkinson Bar, high-speed optical as well as infra-red imaging, laser vibrometer, acoustic camera, and stretchable sensing techniques. Applications range from profile measurement of aircraft structures, health monitoring of rail-tracks to dynamic characterization of micro-scale components. Other major experimental research work includes characterisation of dynamic (rate-sensitive) mechanical properties of materials, soft electroactive materials, mechanobiology, nanobiomechanics, impact mechanics and behaviour of materials such as shape memory alloys, natural fiber composites and hybrid composites. There are also on-going projects in cooperative unmanned systems, vibration, acoustics, soft robotics and motion-based energy harvesting. The group has a rated autoclave for fabrication of advanced fiber-reinforced composites. Other composites fabrication equipment include vacuum-assisted resin transfer, a hot-press and thermoplastic composite pre-preging machine.
Research and development of nano- and micro-scale devices and systems in application fields such as biomedical, optical, photonic and defence systems are actively pursued. Examples include micromirrors/microlenses for endoscopes, sensors based on photonic integrated circuits, and miniaturized spectrometers and spectral imagers. Aspects such as design, fabrication process development, testing, performance evaluation and characterisation are studied.
Numerical simulation and analysis forms a major part of the research in the Group. Novel and more powerful techniques in computational mechanics, e.g. molecular mechanics, multi-scale methods, extended finite elements, boundary elements, adaptive discrete-smeared crack methods, cohesive elements, floating node and mesh-free methods are developed for modeling material and structural behaviour at various length scales, applicable to progressive damage, fracture and delamination in fiber-reinforced composites, thin films, human anatomical systems, and the response of materials and structures to impact and dynamic loads. Theoretical and computational analyses are also used to guide the design and development of soft active systems.
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